Data Modeling with SAP Marketing Cloud

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Define the three main entity types and identify ways to manage how data is modeled in SAP Marketing Cloud

Main Entity Types

The main entity types are interactions, interaction contacts and products along with product-category hierarchy information.

Let’s have a closer look at each of them.


Interactions are all transactional data that describe what happened by answering the questions: Who did What, By which means, Why and When. This is done using contact attributes, interaction type, communication medium, item of interest and a time stamp. The information about various consumer activities, such as issues raised by the user in Service complaint and Sales related information in the form of Sales Order Data, Web Clicks, Email responses, Social Media Posts, and Participation in the events is stored as interactions in the system. The relevant information is held in multiple database tables in SAP HANA database.

Interaction Contact

The interaction contact is the central master data object in SAP Marketing Cloud which can store contact and corporate account information.  The data stored in the interaction contact is updated through a best record algorithm that collects data from a source system which contains all data fields (technically known as Facet Data).

The contact origin data contain all data fields and they are filled by the data coming from different source systems, such as ERP or CRM.  The marketing attributes are available to store information as name-value pairs. As you can see, by configuring the highlighted fields, the system can distinguish between suspects, contacts, and consumers.

Product / Product Category

Now let‘s look at the product and product category entities. You can categorize products, for example, pens, ink cartridges, and erasers which can be grouped together in the category Stationery. The Product entity contains all the products with their category assignments and description. The product category and products are master data entities which can be imported locally to be available in various marketing processes.

The Product Category hierarchy entity stores the different product categories including the complete hierarchy. On the right side of the screen you can see how Product and Product Category tables are connected.

Here are some common-use cases which leverage the product and product category entities. You can use them to define recommendations, specify filters within Segmentation and store information about sales orders and included line items. Further, the product entity can also be used to replicate the order status from canceled orders as well as saved shopping carts.

Best Record

Contact data can be imported into SAP Marketing Cloud from various origins, such as an ERP, CRM, web shop or social media. The imported records need to be processed in the SAP Marketing Cloud to enrich existing contacts or to create new ones. This process helps to build the best record for each contact.


In order to specify how data records that are imported from different origins are handled in the system, each origin must be prioritized. You can define a priority to consider how reliable each origin is to build the best record.

Origins are split into two categories: source systems, for example your SAP ERP system, and additional origins, such as EMAIL or MOBILE.

Source systems provide one main ID for a contact and can additionally provide master data for the contact, such as first name, last name, postal address, or gender. They can also provide additional IDs from other origins, such as an email address or a phone number. Thus, additional IDs are the multiple other contact IDs of various types.

The configuration of the priority of the Origin IDs can be done in the Manage Your Solution app. Then navigate to Configure Your Solution - Contacts and Profiles and choose Origins of Contact IDs.

The settings you make there influence the match and merge process, that is, how best records are built and enriched when contact data is imported. Besides the configuration of the priority, you have more configuration options for Origin IDs available which influence the match and merge process.

How Contact Data is Handled in SAP Marketing Cloud

As illustrated in the graphic, the contact's best record is created on the highest level. All of the attribute fields of the best record are filled with data from the origins one level below, which is indicated by the arrows, for example, first name, last name, date of birth, email address, and so on. Each attribute of the best record contains one value only.

On the lowest level of the graphic are all of the additional IDs extracted separately from the origins. IDs that are loaded into the system from the same origin form an ID Group. This is illustrated in the graphic by the green, red, and grey vertical bars. In this example, the ERP group, represented by the red bar, additionally provides an email address, and fax and phone numbers. Because these IDs can be used to easily identify contacts, these are used to match and update contacts whenever new contacts are loaded into the system. Moreover, contacts identified as matches are enriched with further data during this process.

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